When Chapman was in danger of taking Arsenal down to the 2nd division

Herbert Chapman is of course revered by those who know about Arsenal’s history.  And indeed it was the Arsenal History Society (which runs this site) which persuaded Arsenal FC to put a statue to Chapman up outside the Emirates Stadium, looking up at the ground as if to say “I created this”.

But unfortunately one of the lessons Chapman gave to Arsenal has long been forgotten; the lesson that success is never guaranteed.   For on this day in 1928 Arsenal drew away to Cardiff.  As a result the foot of the first division table looked like this (not forgetting that it was two points for a win in those days and clubs on the same points were separated by goal average, not goal difference.

Pos Club P W D L F A G.Av Pts
17 Manchester United 16 4 6 6 25 29 0.862 14
18 Portsmouth 17 7 0 10 22 37 0.595 14
19 Arsenal 17 4 5 8 25 31 0.806 13
20 Cardiff City 17 3 6 8 22 22 1.000 12
21 Sheffield United 17 6 0 11 23 44 0.523 12
22 Bury 16 5 1 10 16 37 0.432 11

The only salvation at this moment was that Tottenham were not above Arsenal, for they were in the second division.

Things did pick up towards the end of the season however as the club finished ninth.  Also although now forgotten, during the campaign Arsenal did consider changing their name to London City FC, but abandoned the idea at the time because of their poor form.

The following season was even worse in the league for then Arsenal finished 14th, but they did win their first ever major trophy: the FA Cup.   But it was not until 1931 that Arsenal won the league for the first time.

Here are the anniversaries…

3 November 1888: Royal Arsenal 3 Phoenix 0; the first game of the season in the London Senior Cup.  Arsenal went on to the semi-final where they were beaten by Clapton.

3 November 1914: A German naval raid took place on Yarmouth.

3 November 1918: Austria-Hungary formally surrendered and newspapers started to report that Bavaria was trying to go it alone and sue for peace without the rest of Germany.  The German Parliament announced it was pushing through a Bill to remove Kaiser Wilhelm from power.

3 November 1919: In the first local elections since the war Labour moved from zero to 24 councillors overnight.  The Municipal Reform Party (Conservatives) dropped to 15, and thus lost control of the council for the first time.  Sir Henry Norris who had been mayor of Fulham for longer than any other London mayor before or since, had relinquished his seat and did not stand.

3 November 1928: Cardiff 1 Arsenal 1.  In Chapman’s 4th season Arsenal briefly flirted with relegation with just three wins in the first 13 league games of the season.

3 November 1962: Blackburn 5 Arsenal 5.  Having beaten Wolverhampton 5-4 the previous week, Arsenal nearly repeated the feat.  Across the two games five of the goals were scored by Joe Baker, three by Eastham and two by Skirton.

3 November 1963: Ian Wright born in Woolwich.  He started out with Greenwich Borough and then having been spotted was invited to have a trial at Crystal Palace who signed him in August 1985, when he was 21 – a late start in professionalism for a player.

3 November 1971:  Arsenal 3 Grasshoppers 0 in the European Cup, giving Arsenal a 5-0 win on aggregate

3 November 1981: Arsenal were knocked out in the second round of the Uefa Cup by Winterslag of Belgium.

3 November 1993: Standard Liège 0 Arsenal 7 in the Cup Winners’ Cup.  Arsenal won 10-0 overall, the highest aggregate ever achieved by Arsenal.  Smith, Selley, Adams,, Campbell (2), Merson and McGoldrick got the goals

3 November 2007: The largest crowd thus far at the Emirates saw Arsenal v Man U (60,338).  It was televised live and ended 2-2. Fàbregas and Gallas got the goals.

3 November 2010: Having beaten Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 at the Emirates, Arsenal then proceeded to lose 2-1 in the return game.  Walcott scored for Arsenal and Eduardo got one of the Shakhtar goals.

3 November 2012: Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1. The result meant Arsenal had lost three of the last five, although they had just beaten Reading in the league cup 7-5.

3 November 2014: Francis Coquelin was loaned to Charlton in order for him to get some games (having thus far been a regular on the Arsenal bench).  He was recalled on 12 December after five games at Charlton.

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